UAP 3024, Fall 2018
Urban and Regional Analysis

Virginia Tech, College of Arhictecture and Urban Studies | School of Urban Affairs & Planning

10:10 - 11:00 AM, Architecture Annex Room 7, Mon & Wed & Fri
Instructor: Wenwen Zhang


More than one half of the world population lives now in urban areas, and virtually all countries of the world are becoming increasingly urbanized. Smart urbanization process requires information, such as population growth, changes in demographic compositions, economic activities and demand of infastructures to allcoate human and monetary resources efficiently. Such information are analzed via applying well-designed demographic, economic, land use, and tranpsortation models to various urban datasets. This class offers an introduction to quantitative analysis for planners, with a focus on data and analytics skills typically used in planning analysis. By the end of the semester, students should be familiar with various planning data sources and foundational stastical concepts, and visualization/presentation skills.

Office Hours

Wenwen Zhang @ Architecture Annex, Room 215
by Appointment
Hector Mendoza @ Architecture Annex, Room TBD

Class Objective

The goals of this course are:
  1. Knowledge of existing data sources for planning analysis
  2. Basic tools for demographic/cohort analysis
  3. Foundamental economic metrics
  4. Understanding of statistical models and interpreting results and apply models to planning problems
  5. Land use and transportation demand analysis
  6. Ability to present and visualize the results
  7. Familiar with quantiative analysis in Excel
In general, this course will serve as a basic introduction for those who want to use quantiative model to perform population and economic analysis, as well as forecast demand for residential and commerical land uses and transportaiton infrastructures. Students will be provided with a firm grounding in the principles and concepts of popualtion and economic analysis models, applications of these techniques to Census data to inform real-world planning process. By the end of the course, students are expected to understand the basic components of quantitative analysis in planning and to be familiar with the strength and limitations of different models.

Course Procedure and Organization

The course is organized in a series of lectures, hands-on Excel exercises, and readings. The lectures and readings are designed to allow students to have basic knowledge of urban data structures, model principles, and implementations. The exercise session will provide students with hands-on experience using Excel. During the model implementation process, students will learn the skills to conduct data query, basic joining, and perform statistics tests in Excel. Students will use Google Classroom to submit assignments. The class discussion with other participants and lecturer will be hosted on Piazza. The class materials and schedules are published on the Google Classroom website.

The challenge in learning quantitative analysis lies in absorbing a conceptual understanding of different urban modesl and linking this understanding with Excel training in implementation. Therefore, every attempt has been made wherever possible, to provide a “hands-on” exercise application of the concepts demonstrated in the previous lecture sessions. Additionally, practical case-studies in homework assignment will provide examples of the data and models learned in class may be applied in real-world practices, in data preparation, and in problem-solving, to bridge the gap between academics and technicalities.

Readings and Materials

The following books are recommended
  • Planner’s Estimating Guide: Projecting Land-Use and Facility Needs. (Nelson, Arthur C)
  • Applied Demography (Siegel, Jacob)
  • Statistics: A tool for Social Research (Healey, Joseph)
Readings will be posted to Google Classroom. Students are expected to finish readings before coming to classes.

Class Schedule (Tentative)

Date Topic Mon Wed Fri Reminders
Aug. 20, 22, 24 * Welcome and Overview
Urban Modeling Overview

Introduction to Census Data

27, 29, 31 * Make Sense of Census Data
Census Data Query
Inclass Exercise
Descriptive Statistics Inclass Exercise
Descriptive Statistics Inclass Exercise
Sept. 3, 5, 7 * Statistics Foundamentals Labor Day | No Class Hypothesis Test Concepts
Hypothesis Testing using Census Data HW1 DUE SEPT 9TH, 11:59PM
10, 12, 14 * Population Forecast
Introduction to Time Series Models Complex Time Series Models Complex Time Series Models HW 2 OUT
17, 19, 21 * Population Forecasts Ratio Time Series Models Apply Time Series Models in Excel Apply Time Series Models in Excel HW2 DUE SEPT 23RD, 11:59PM
24, 26, 28 * Cohort Analysis Cohort Component Overview Fertility Mortality
Oct. 1, 3, 5 * Cohort Analysis Migration Model Migration Model Apply cohort component models in Excel FINAL PROJECT OUT
8, 10, 12 * Economic Analysis Economic Analysis Overview Economic Base Theory and Location Quotients Shift-share Models HW3 OUT
15, 17, 19 * Economic Analysis Input-output Model Apply Shift-share Model in Excel Fall Break | No Class HW3 DUE OCT 21TH, 11:59PM
22, 24, 26 * Land Use Dedemand Open Book Midterm Residential Land Demand Model Overview Land Use Data Residential Land Demand Cacluation HW4 OUT
Nov. 29, 31, 2 * Land Use Dedemand Commercial Land Demand Model Overview Commercial Land Demand Model Techniques Commercial Land Demand Model Application HW4 DUE NOV 10TH, 11:59PM
5, 7, 9 * Transportation Demand Transportation Model Overview NHTS Data and Four Step Model Trip Generation using NHTS data
12, 14, 16 * Recent trends in Planning Models Big Data and Planning Models Agent Based Simulations Data Visualization
Dec. 27, 29, 01 * NO CLASS Thanks Giving | No Class Thanks Giving | No Class Thanks Giving | No Class
26, 28, 30 * Group Presentations Group Presentations Group Presentations Group Presentations
Dec. 3, 5 * Final Project Preparation Work on Projects Work on projects
10 * Final Projects Due

Course Requirements and Grading

Homework Assignments [50%]

The BEST way to get help with homework assignments is to post your questions to Piazza. (Please kindly review the posted questions for potential answers) If you prefer that keep your questions to only the TA and the instructor, you may use the private post feature (i.e., check the "Individual Students(s) / Instructors(s)" radio box).
NO collaboration is allowed for homework assignments, each student must write up their own answers. All VT students must observe the Undergraduate honor code manual.
We plan to have four assignments (Check Schedule for Due time):
  • HW1 [10%]: Statistic Analysis Using Census Data
  • HW2 [15%]: Population Forecast
  • HW3 [15%]: Economic Analysis
  • HW4 [10%]: Land Use Demand Estimation
The detailed grading criteria will be provided in assignment descriptions. Students will have approxiatmely 1.5 - 2 weeks to finish the assignment. The in-class exercise sessions will cover similar questions!

Class Project [25%]

There will be one team project for group of 3-4. Students are expected to utilize models learned in class to perform demographic and economic analysis to estiamte land use and transportation demands for an assigned study area. Scores will be distributed based on peer evaluation.

Exam [15%]

There will be one open-book midterm exam after Fall break, covering materials taught before the exam. Types of questions on the exam including: short asnwer question for critical concepts, multiple-choices, excel functions, and calcualtions.

Participation [10%]

Hint Piazza does track students' contributions
Attendance, participation in class discussions, and out of class discussions (on Piazza), and motivation may affect your grade and could potentially influence any borderline grade. Roll will be called in class (sometimes ungraded short quizes).

Final Evaluation

The breakdown of final grades:
  • A : [94,100]
  • A- : [90, 94)
  • B+ : [87, 90)
  • B : [83, 87)
  • B- : [80, 83)
  • C+ : [77, 80)
  • C : [73, 77)
  • C- : [70, 73)
  • D : [60, 70)
  • F : [0 , 60)

Late Submissions Policy

Class Accessibility

Any student with a disability requiring accommodations in this course is encouraged to contact me after class or during office hours. In addition, students should contact the Services for Students with Disabilities for Academic Success.

Finally, a couple of house keeping things

  1. Check the class website frequently to see any changes, updates, tips, and announcements.
  2. When you submit your final work, please include all your works into one PDF file, following file naming convention like this: ‘ch1_Lastname.pdf’, ‘major1_Lastname.pdf”, ‘Exam_Lastname.pdf’. Word and Excel NOT allowed for submission
  3. When you have questions, please e-mail me with a heading of “[UAP3024]” in the subject.

Welcome to the world of Urban and Regional Analysis and good luck!